Death of journalist and writer Bernard Pivot – Image

Death of journalist and writer Bernard Pivot – Image
Death of journalist and writer Bernard Pivot – Image

The presenter of the legendary Antenne 2 literary program “Apostrophes” died in Neuilly-sur-Seine at the age of 89, his daughter Cécile announced to AFP. A book in one hand, his pair of glasses in the other, he also presented the program “Bouillon de culture” and organized from 1985 the Dicos d’or, a spelling championship which quickly became international. Bernard Pivot, a reader as scrupulous as he was brilliant as an interviewer, has established himself over the years as a popular figure well beyond the small Parisian literary milieu. “Apostrophes”, on Friday evening, was watched by several million viewers. Great connoisseurs of literature or modest book lovers, they appreciated the witticisms, the strikingly concise thoughts, the lyrical tirades or the shouting matches that Bernard Pivot knew how to provoke in the invited authors. The newspaper Le Monde describes the show as “an unmissable event for authors and the publishing world”. For the magazine Télérama, it “durably changed literary life”, “a sociological phenomenon and a unique cultural object of its kind”. His archives, however, reveal a time when Gabriel Matzneff’s relationships with minors were laughed at and people smoked and drank without any restraint. When it ended in 1990, after fifteen years, the loss seemed irreparable to this community. Affable, even-tempered, Bernard Pivot was unanimously appreciated there. “He was cheerful, he was funny. He was sympathetic, deeply sympathetic,” another great television figure of the 80s, Anne Sinclair, declared on BFMTV. The proof with this witticism on Twitter in 2016: “The habit of radio stations calling me when a writer dies is so great that, the day I die, they will call me”. The host, a lover of good wine and humor, had no equal when it came to relaxing the atmosphere on his set. And, in live conditions, to raise the debate. Giants of the 20th century sat opposite him to discuss the title they had just published, such as Marguerite Duras, the boxer Mohamed Ali or the Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn. “We are losing a great man of culture and TV,” said the general director of France Télévisions Delphine Ernotte Cunci. Bernard Pivot, who easily admitted his limitations as a writer, then exercised his influence at the Académie Goncourt. Joined in 2004, president in 2014, he withdrew at the end of 2019.

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